I gave up planning my life about the time these little boys jumping off our cabin dock came along. I didn’t plan to give birth to more babies in my late thirties and early forties, but these sons came anyway, and I can’t imagine life without them.
Nearly all the best things that have happened to me, I didn’t plan at all. Nor did I plan the worst things. All have come uninvited, like guests to a dinner party that sometimes bring their own food, and share it with you, and it tastes better than the food you had, or guests that come and eat your heart out and leave you reeling.
Today I want to focus on life’s good guests.
I didn’t plan to have big, bearded son-in-laws. Sometimes you can catch Cami’s husband Drew clean-shaven, but not very often. As a farmer, Drew looks rugged most of the time. And Jake wouldn’t be Jake without his big, red beard. Yet, the first thing Lacy said about Jake, when we told her about him after we met Jake but she hadn’t yet, was, “I don’t want to date a boy with a beard!” She said this all sassy and Scott got so mad.
“What does she know about boys?!” I won’t tell you what he said after this because it wasn’t nice at all. It was a father venting his frustration. Scott had already made Lacy end two relationships that weren’t good for her. Shocked friends said, “She’s in her twenties, you can’t tell her what to do. You can’t tell your grown daughter who to date.”
“Oh, yes I can,” said Scott. “God made me her daddy and my job is to protect my daughter.” These were hard years with lots of tears and heartache, yet look what God has done. Scott knows our son-in-laws will take good care of Cami and Lacy. He has handed over his girls to men he trusts. Both Drew and Jake asked Scott if they could marry the girls. Of course he said yes.
The funny thing is, when our daughters were 18 and 20 years old, both girls informed us they didn’t want to date Christian men. “Christian boys are wimpy,” they said.
This upset me so much, I ranted to a pastor about it at family camp. The pastor laughed and said, “What does God say about this? Who cares what your girls want. What does God want? Then that laughing pastor prayed the funniest prayer. “Lord, bring these girls some brawny Christian men who love you and will love these silly girls.”
Okay, he didn’t say “brawny and silly” but the prayer amounted to as much.
I didn’t laugh during that pastor’s prayer. Actually, I cried, and then spent the next several years trying to plan how God was going to bring about some brawny Christian men for our girls. After all, doesn’t God need my help? My counsel? My hands and feet on this earth?
Trust me, God doesn’t need our hands and feet here as I’ve heard so many times in church. My hands often make a mess of things, and my feet get me in trouble. “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former,” said Albert Einstein, and he was a smart man.
Stupidity often gets me. Scott broke a glass on our kitchen tile. Instead of putting my shoes on before helping him clean up the mess, I remained barefoot and stepped on a piece of glass the night before we went camping. I did my best to keep the wound clean, but that was a losing battle. Still, I did everything I wanted to do at the cabin, in spite of my wounded foot. I didn’t even tell people I had a wounded foot. I just wanted to forget my stupid wounded foot and enjoy my family and the mountains.
Are you living in spite of your wounds?
I’ve been living wounded for years. No longer do I think I can heal myself. Either of wounds or human stupidity. I’ve learned I can’t. But I know the Healer and I stay close to him and wait for his grace and mercy and healing like our horses wait to be fed every morning and night.
Feeding horses is a daily chore. It seems like you just get them fed, and have to feed them again. Horses are eating machines.
I don’t miss a meal with God, either. I gobble down all the grace and mercy I can. I’m weary of trying to make things happen in my own strength. I even wear myself out praying sometimes.
Last year at this time I was on my knees pleading with God to bring Jake and Lacy together, but nothing was going the way I planned. Lacy didn’t even want to meet Jake, let alone date him. And unbeknownst to us, Jake was seeing someone else. Scott and I were shameless about trying to get them together. Scott even invited Jake, a young man from church we hardly knew, to go camping with us in August. Fortunately, Jake turned Scott down because Lacy invited another boy to the cabin that we didn’t even know about until the kid arrived. He only stayed for a few hours, and though he was a very nice young man, I was relieved when nothing came of the meeting.
Back then I was living on hope in what God could do, a mother’s aching heart, and universe juice. This is a joke in our family, Scott says I live on universe juice because I’m not much of an eater. Scott lives to eat. I eat to live. I don’t know why, except my parents don’t eat much either so I must have got the universe juice thing from them.
But back to my story…
All I wanted was a good man for our younger daughter. Call me old-fashioned. Pea-brained. Or worse, but I believe in a girl getting married. Scott and I married young and I don’t regret it for a minute. Cami and Drew married young and are on five great years and counting. Two weeks until their baby comes is what they are really counting right now and it was awesome to see Cami at the cabin about ready to pop.
I want to laugh more and worry less about the outcome of life. Planning really hasn’t gotten me very far. The truth is, my life feels like a series of failing forward. Like a toddler learning to walk who ends up on his butt a whole lot, picked up by a good parent who never gives up. This has been true for me as a wife. As a mother. And as a writer. The best things that have happened, I didn’t plan at all. What God has done has been far beyond my meager human plans.
To get to the top of this ridge, Lacy and Jake had to hike a dangerous canyon. You know it’s dangerous when your son-in-laws who hike all the time tell you it’s dangerous.
At the bottom of this canyon flowed the rushing Yuba River, where Lacy and the boys found the rainbows. I’m sure Lacy would tell you last year at this time she never expected to be married now to the fisherman of her dreams.
If your life isn’t turning out the way you planned, just hang on. You never know when God is going to show up and give you a rainbow. Here is another Albert Einstein observation to encourage you: ““There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
After catching this beautiful rainbow trout, Jake released it back into the Yuba River.